Richard Roeper Blog

Archive for March, 2009

The movie of life.

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Letter from a reader:

I hope I don’t sound nuts, but I sometimes get these crazy premonitions… My hubby was out of town last week and I was gonna watch “Love, Actually”–my fav movie ever and I know you were a huge fan…
Then I thought, I can’t watch Liam Neeson carrying that casket and crying. I swear, that scene is seared on my hard drive. I could not stop thinking about it and it haunted me all night. I swear to you.
Weird. My husband is an ICU doc and I’m an old nurse (!) and we’ve been going over the possibilities. What a loss. I saw brief footage of him from yesterday and what a haunted and vacant look in his “I’ve been at my dying wife’s bedside” clothes.
Bless him and those gorgeous kids and her poor mom.
You’re not nuts. As the tragic story of Natasha Richardson’s accident unfolded this week, I thought a lot about the fantasy world of movies, and the sometimes maddening dullness of everyday life. We live in a time of great crisis and unprecedented cynicism; a time when the young become jaded at an age when they should still be regarding the world with wonder.
We know all about the personal lives of the famous and the famous-for-being famous. When a troubled young woman treats motherhood like an attempt at a spot in the Guinness Book of Records, the homeward journey of two of her infants is treated like internationally important news. The press contingent surrounding her car looked larger than the press contingent that used to cover presidential motorcades.
And yet.
And yet we still buy into the fantasy world of movies. We still love watching Liam Neeson delivering that great monologue in “Taken,” in which he tells the scum that took his daughter exactly what he’s going to do: he’s going to kill everyone who tried to hurt his daughter, and then he’s going to save her. And then we sit back and revel in the rescue fantasy, as one lone dad systematically destroys an evil cabal.
In real life, however, Liam Neeson is a lot closer—-now tragically closer—-to the character he played in “Love, Actually.” A decent man who didn’t deserve to lose his wife, who can find no earthly or heavenly explanation for why he lost his wife. A father who must stay strong for his children.
There was a throwaway joke on a rerun of “Seinfeld” this evening. George Costanza, hoping to meet Jon Voight, suggests a “Jon Voight Day” at Yankee Stadium. His colleagues laugh it off. George says that if he had suggested Liam Neeson Day, then everyone would have loved it. You hear the joke last week or 10 years ago, it doesn’t register. Today, it just seemed weird. Real life getting in the way of a sitcom laugh.
So it goes now with “Love, Actually.” It’s every bit as good a film as it was on Monday—-but for a while, at least, I don’t think anybody wants to see Liam Neeson playing a widower, any more than we wanted to see Christopher Reeve flying as Superman just afte Mr. Reeve suffered his terrible accident, or Robert Downey Jr. playing a drug addict in “Less Than Zero” when his real-life misadventures seemed to be mirroring that early role from his career.
We go to the movies to reflect on life, but mostly to escape from the day to day grind of life. But sometimes life makes the movie too unbearable too watch, at least for a while.

ShoWest honors Roger.

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

From the Hollywood Reporter:


Veteran film critic Roger Ebert will be honored at ShoWest 2009 with a special award for career achievement in film journalism.

Ebert will be feted at a luncheon April 2, the final day of the annual exhibition confab. ShoWest opens March 30 at the Bally’s and Paris hotels in Las Vegas.

“With over 40 years devoted to providing moviegoing audiences with reviews and incredible insight into the film world, Roger Ebert has been a standout critic respected by audiences, peers and movie industry insiders alike,” ShoWest co-managing director Mitch Neuhauser said. “If it weren’t for Roger Ebert — who has always had the foresight to champion the cause of relatively unknown and budding filmmakers and talent — the world of motion pictures as we know it today wouldn’t be as rich, diverse and enriching as it is.”

Ebert started his long career at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967, when he first came aboard as a film reviewer. He teamed up with the Chicago Tribune’s Gene Siskel in 1976 to co-host a weekly film-review television show.

After Siskel’s death in 1999, “Siskel & Ebert at the Movies” became “At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper,” with film critic Richard Roeper as co-host.

Ebert won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1975. He received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers in 2003 and an honorary life membership in the DGA in 2009.

525,600 Tweets…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Well, not quite. But here’s the year in Tweets so far…


  1. CNN reporting that Natasha Richardson has passed away.

  2. Further details on my new book project, which starts tomorrow: http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  3. My picks for the NCAA tournament:

  4. How did I get dragged back out???

  5. Conflicting reports on Natasha Richardson:http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  6. Details on my next book project: check out item #2.

  7. Off to see “Duplicity.”

  8. In case you’re having trouble finding a Shamrock Shake:

  9. Is there a stay-at-home mom in the country who ISN’T updating her Facebook status with new pictures of the kiddies, even as we speak???

  10. East Tenn State U. is playing Pitts. Too bad they’re not playing Utah, cuz then I could offer the fractured pun, “ETSU, Utes?”

  11. Oh wait, they’re playing Memphis? Never mind. They’re done.

  12. Cal St Northridge Matadors baby. Pencil them in for at least one upset in the NCAA tourney.

  13. If you’re wearing green and your friend is wearing orange, and a pale friend stands between you: ta da! Instant Irish flag.

  14. At Emerald Isle, celebrating my heritage. Who knew it involved Dexys F—— Midnight Runners.

  15. Now where did I put my Deeley Bobbers?

  16. Heading to the south suburbs. By the time I’m back half these kids will be ready for bed.

  17. Girls with Irish flags for capes just walked by. Sporty!

  18. And there’s already a line outside the Kerryman, another Irish bar on Clark Street in Chicago…

  19. Just to clarify: this isn’t a bar for 3rd shift workers. It usually opens at noon. It opened at 8 a.m. today for the parade crowd.

  20. For the non-Chicagoans: Garrett Ripley’s is a bar.

  21. Sign in Garrett Ripley’s window: “Open Saturday at 8 a.m.” Yipes.

  22. @EricZorn: Thanks Eric! I knew I didn’t have it exactly right. Cheers, RR

  23. Alec Baldwin on “30 Rock” — “People swearing and drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, is nothing sacred?” CQ.

  24. At Celtic Crossings now.

  25. @alex252: the movie in question is “Adventureland.” It’s not a goofball sex comedy, it’s a sweet, funny and authentic coming of age story.

  26. From a reader: “On the heels of Sears Tower becoming the Willis Tower, will Chicago now have the Todd Bridges over the Chicago River?” CQ.

  27. Amy Adams is the shit in “Sunshine Cleaning.”…

  28. St. Patrick’s Day extended weekend starts today in Chicago. Soon the river will be green. The beer, green. The faces of some drinkers-green.

  29. Just saw film that’s NOTHING like the trailer. And I mean that in a good way. Once again, the studios ‘condensend.’ (As Floyd would say).

  30. Question: when was the last time you went an entire week without hearing about someone you know getting laid off? Geez.

  31. I’m big in Russia. BIG I tell ya. Too funny.

  32. Just signed a deal for book #8. Details in the next couple of days.

  33. I have the *!@(Y%O Human League playing in my head, will somebody please help!!!!!!!!!

  34. Brian Doyle Murray sustained serious injuries in bicycle accident. Godspeed.

  35. Taking your nominations for the songs that have been played to death in movies…

  36. Twitter needs to come up with more interesting “technical difficulties” pages, seeing as how they’re so often experiencing said TD.

  37. How many f—— clocks/watchers/timers do I have to change??? I’m just going to leave a few. For visitors it’ll be like guesting on “Lost.”

  38. It’s big. And it’s purple. http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  39. I have a feeling that before this trip is over, I’m going to meet a shower ring salesman…

  40. Woman at airport: “We have to get home TODAY, because we have four kids.” Why didn’t you just say so? We’ll clear up that weather pronto!

  41. Do you drink from the giant flute once you’ve taken it home, or does it go on display?

  42. I like the mentality that says, “I’m going to take this giant plastic purple drinking flute home!”

  43. When the Departures board says “Psbl Wthr Delay,” there’s going to be a weather delay.

  44. What happens to your messages when you send them but they never reach Twitterville? Do they just float around in the Twitterverse?

  45. Leaving Las Vegas soon. Hear there’s just a BIT of rain in Chicago…

  46. Finished 17th in a tournament …

  47. On way to Caesars to check out the NBC heads up tournament.

  48. We need to issue a ban on the phrase, “I just threw up a little in my mouth.” Every time I hear it, I throw up a lit–I mean, I cringe.

  49. Just signed a book deal, now packing for Vegas for a crack-o-dawn flight. These two things are not unrelated.

  50. OK this is pretty great.

  51. Robin Williams needs heart surgery. Godspeed. I’ve met him a few times. When he finally dials it down, he’s even more interesting.

  52. “Watchmen” — 2.5 stars out of 5.…

  53. Today’s theme is Deal or No Deal. On about four different levels.

  54. Why does it take longer to change a flight than it does to buy a car?

  55. Agenda: Two movies, one column, blog posts, conference calls, book research, meetings, drinks with spectacular individual. In that order.

  56. Print of “Watchmen” was delayed tonight, so I’m going to see it tomorrow morning. I’m blaming the snafu on Moloch.

  57. Remember when the condition now known as “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” was known as “F—— Losing It”?

  58. I hear Blackberry users are having trouble in Chicago today?

  59. Wondering why Jimmy Fallon booked Robert De Niro for Show #1. Bobby D is a great actor, but a lousy talk show guest.

  60. Jury Duty notice again. Apparently I’m in heavy rotation on their playlist.

  61. Snowflakes dancing. It’s beginnng to look a lot like kill me now.

  62. Didn’t they do this on MTV about a million years ago? Or was it VH1?…

  63. I’ll be on WGN (720-AM) radio at 12:10 p.m. today.

  64. Thoughts on Paul Harvey, and the state of radio today.

  65. Hard to dispute: Cyan made a meteoric rise as a color with the advent of the home computer printer. Ditto magenta.

  66. “Moose” Murphy, who was always first in line for picnic permits in Chicago, has passed. I wonder if they’ll wait in line for his funeral.

  67. “And now…the rest of the story.” “Good day.”

  68. Guy named Rich Hall used to impersonate Mr. Harvey on “SNL.”

  69. Norm Van Lier, Red Kerr, Paul Harvey. R.I.P.

  70. Just posted some pre-screening thoughts on “Watchmen.”

  71. “Two Lovers” — Four stars.…

  72. “Crossing Over.” Into unintentionally funny territory.…

  73. Norm Van Lier, R.I.P.

  74. No good movies so far this year? Most of the new releases are mediocre, but there are a few exceptions.http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  75. Can never hear “Stuck in the Middle with You” without thinking of Michael Madsen dancing and cutting.

  76. Woman with ashes on her forehead, greeting friend on State Street: “I have a fasting headache.”

  77. A few words about the f—— Snuggie.http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  78. Michele Gondry to direct “The Green Hornet.” Order your hallucinogenics now.

  79. Bobby Jindal has become a “Saturday Night Live” sketch waiting to happen.

  80. On my way to see “Tyson” and “Crossing Over.”

  81. How long before some critic hails a movie as “The first real Oscar contender of 2009”? I say it happens before April 1.

  82. Make that 6 percent.

  83. Oscar ratings up 10 percent from last year.

  84. Morning-after thoughts on Slumdog’s big night:

  85. The great thing about the job: tomorrow I see three movies. “Sunshine Cleaning,” “Brothers at War” and “Black Balloon.” The beat goes on.

  86. KABC interviewing Leeza Gibbons. Shouldn’t Leeza Gibbons be interviewing with KABC for a job?

  87. Folks are asking why Heath Ledger wasn’t part of the ‘tribute’ montage. He was included last year. Heath died in Jan. of 2008.

  88. Nicholson: MIA? Rourke: Who even makes those chains? Portman: The best face in Hollywood. Pinto: The best face in the world.

  89. Beyonce: Love her, but was that lip-synching? The multiple presenters: Kinda cool. Gooding Jr. needs the work.

  90. Oscar hits and misses: Ben Stiller’s Joaquin: an easy target but funny as well. Anne Hathaway’s acting in the opening number: horrible.

  91. Thanks to all the Twitterers who started following me tonight. RR

  92. Quick take on the Oscars:

  93. I went 21 for 24 with my Oscar picks. Damn you, Best Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories!

  94. The great thing is this means more people will see “Milk.”

  95. Sean Penn. The right choice. It was a performance for the ages.

  96. Kate Winslet. I still say it’s the wrong performance and the wrong category.

  97. That Beyonce might have a future in show business.

  98. What a surprise, the Oscars will take about three and a half hours.

  99. The Heath Ledger moment was appropriate. Moving without being maudlin.

  100. Next up: Supporting Actor.

  101. I’m 10 for 10 on my picks so far.

  102. We’ve got an overflow crowd at the viewing party. Hugh Jackman trying hard in this opening number.

  103. The E! Channel is featuring an exclusive interview with animal trainer from “Space Buddies.” Can you feel the Oscar fever building??

  104. That list of “Oscar winners” is a hoax. Don’t bet on Amy Adams winning Best Supporting actress because her name is on a phony list…

  105. Behind the scenes on a typical day at the Oscars:

  106. Oscar thought: I wish they’d mute the audio during the medley of dead people. You always feel bad when somebody garners weak applause.

  107. Behind the scenes on a typical Oscar weekend.

  108. What’s it like to do Conan’s show?

  109. In honor of the late Gene Siskel.

  110. So in certain booths at the Bull & Bear in Chicago, there are beer taps built into your table. Norm from “Cheers” would be in heaven.

  111. It was a soothing 10 degrees when I walked to the coffee shop this morning and got my iced drink. Bracing!

  112. My Oscar predictions in all 24 categories:

  113. shanepilgrim wants to know if I ever get jealous of Michael Phillips’ “solid beard.” No, because I have memories of my goatee circa 1997.

  114. shanepilgrim wants to know if I ever get jealous of Michael Phillips’ “solid beard.” No, because have memories of my goatee circa 1997.

  115. I miss the Delroy Lindo era.

  116. Jose Contreras of the White Sox lost 30 lbs. Now he looks just like Delroy Lindo.

  117. Overheard at coffee shop: “I’m in no mood for your acronyms today.” Guy should have said, “IINMFYAT.”

  118. Got exactly 234 minutes of sleep last night. What day is it? Mardi?

  119. Aisha Tyler on NBC5-com. See her at Chicago Improv!

  120. Weekend box office report: He Just Put That Knife Into You.

  121. Someone just sent me a link to something I’ve written. Am I supposed to read it? I never read what I’ve written. I know how it turns out.

  122. Come watch the Oscars with me!

  123. Of Nixon, Archie Bunker and “Milk.”

  124. Security guards in a Chicago building were handing our roses to everyone this am. Nice touch.

  125. 50 dead. One victim had lost her husband on 9/11.

  126. That would be handing OUT roses. Love that iPhone keyboard!

  127. My take on “The International”–great shootout sequence, indecipherable plot.…

  128. Commuter plane down outside Buffalo, sadly, no miracle this time.

  129. My take on “Confessions of a Shopaholic”…

  130. Is Joaquin Phoenix full of shit? http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  131. My take on Favre’s impending retirement

  132. When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet for a year…

  133. I’ll be on WGN (720-AM) with the old Media Creatures gang this afternoon around 2:30pm CST.

  134. But hey, you never know…

  135. Three minutes away from seeing “Shopaholic.” The suspense is killing … someone, I’m sure.

  136. I never cross my fingers because it’s hard to type with your fingers crossed, but I’m crossing my fingers. That’s all I can say right now.

  137. It’s already 51 degrees in Chicago. All over the Loop, the snow has melted and the cigarette butts are in bloom…

  138. A-rod comes clean. http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  139. A-Rod did the smart thing. He came clean about not being clean.

  140. The Dark Knight interview. Outtake #124.http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  141. I’m thinking Robert Plant and Mickey Rourke could star in “Nelson: the Later Years.”

  142. Remembering James Whitmore, the “Shawshank” librarian…http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  143. Just looked over my shoulder and saw 1,963 people following me. I’m starting to feel like I’m in a Verizon wireless commercial.

  144. Sweet Coraline? Hardly. But that’s the point..…

  145. SI reports A-rod took steroids. No word on whether he stopped using them once the postseason kicked in.

  146. My take on “He’s Just Not That Into You,” which I’ve seen twice. (Long story.)…

  147. Taping some stuff for an Obama inauguration DVD today, then heading over to another studio for some movie stuff. Reviews posted later today.

  148. Etta James: shame on you.

  149. My review of “Fanboys”…

  150. I’ll be on WGN (720-AM) in about five minutes…

  151. Just experienced Peter Sagal, Ira Glass and Scott Simon spinning tales onstage at the Art Institute in Chicago. Wonderful storytellers.

  152. About to go on WLS 890-AM

  153. Chicago radio legend Eddie Schwartz dead at 62. I remember going on his overnight show many years ago. His last years were rough. RIP.

  154. My photos of the Holy Name fire, taken from a nearby rooftop:

  155. Firefighters working in 0 degree weather.

  156. Fire under control, no injuries reported.

  157. Fire at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. I’m heading over…

  158. Letterman hits Blagojevich with a hook, a jab, a gentle ribbing, Blago tries to counter, it’s not working–and DOWN GOES BLAGOJEVICH! TKO.

  159. LA Times says Blago compares himself to Batman tonight. Sort of. http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  160. Kevin Costner bringing a minor league team to Zion, Il. I can’t wait for “Waterworld” night. Free gills for the first 5,000 fans.

  161. Joey the Clown gets life in prison. Yucko the Clown’s life a prison unto itself.

  162. Some outlets saying Super Bowl ratings “down from last year.” Yes, but last year was all-time record. Last night’s game had HUGE numbers.

  163. Just posted an appreciation of “Slap Shot.”

  164. Don’t you love people who talksofastwhentheyleavevoicemailsit’snearlyimpossibletounderstandwhatthey’resaying!

  165. God bless Jennifer Hudson, but there’s not much pressure when you’re lip-synching. Enough with this talk of a “great” performance.

  166. The refs are the “stars” of this game.

  167. A lot of these ads are giving new meaning to the term suckage.

  168. I’m sure fans are inundating him with catch phrases from “Boat Trip.”

  169. Why does the Super Bowl hat feature Seahawks colors?

  170. That’s a TD and this is the best Super Bowl finish ever.

  171. Santonio gets MVP unless Cards pull off the miracle.

  172. That just played havoc with a lot of square pools.

  173. Safety!

  174. Quick kick!

  175. Little bit of a Tyree helmet catch there.

  176. Somehow the Cardinals are still in it. And covering the spread.

  177. That’s Duvall doing the VO for Kelloggs.

  178. I’m sure fans are inundating him with catch phrases from “Boat Trip.”

  179. Cuba Gooding Jr., who played a Cardinal in “Jerry Maguire,” is at the game.

  180. Big Ben is no Elway.

  181. Who runs into the holder!

  182. If you had 7-7 as your halftime numbers in a Super Bowl square pool, James Harrison is your newest best buddy for life.

  183. If you had 7-7 for a halftime score in your Super Bowl square pool, James Harrison is your newest best buddy for life.

  184. I’m thinking of taking the Cardinals +7. But I’m in Chicago, and it would be impossible and just plain wrong to make a bet. Cough-cough.

  185. Luke Harangody could take the role of Meat in the remake of “Porky’s.” Not that I’m pining to see a remake of “Porky’s.”

  186. My review of “Taken”…

  187. Drew Peterson’s fiancé just dumped him. I wonder what she’s doing Valentine’s Day.

  188. “New in Town” ** “Doc Hollywood” + “Baby Boom.” In movies, small-town people are ALWAYS nicer than city folk. Unless they’re serial killers.

  189. “Taken” ** Extremely well-made but incredibly loopy actioner. Not sure how Liam Neeson kept a straight face throughout.

  190. “Wendy & Lucy” *** Minimalist gem with a subtle, authentic performance from Michelle Williams. A slice of American life at its toughest.

  191. Speaking of people who don’t know when to shut up: tonight on “Nightline,” Drew Peterson says of his new girlfriend, “She likes me a lot.”

  192. Updated Blago blogo:

  193. The latest on Blago:

  194. Blago now meeting reporters outside his home.

  195. Tin Man leaves, Cowardly Lion returns.

  196. From “The View” to the boot, bye bye Blago.

  197. White House press conference, reporter just asked if Obama will throw out first pitch at “Comiskey.” He’ll need a DeLorean to do that.

  198. Blago: Won’t apologize, says he did nothing wrong, won’t resign. That was the encore for Denial Tour ’09. Time to get off the stage.

  199. Will Blago quote Kipling, cite Gandhi, imitate Nixon, discuss “Lost”? Anything is possible! http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  200. Must See TV! Blago does “Mr. Smith” Thurs.

  201. I’m taping “Oprah & Friends” radio with Nate Berkus today. And I’m fairly certain he’s the “Friend” of O in this equation.

  202. At least Daley didn’t pick the 14-year-old “cop” to be the next schools chief.

  203. If you’re in the Chicago area, I’ll be on “Good Day Chicago” at 9:20 a.m. today.

  204. He was one of a kind. http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  205. Updike, RIP. “The Music School,” “Marry Me,” “Witches,” The “Rabbit” books. More than 800 pieces for the New Yorker! Prolific and elegant.

  206. Will Mickey Rourke’s weirdness cost him an Oscar?http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  207. OK even I’m getting sick of the Sox/Obama connection.

  208. When you have a dream about your own web site, it’s time to go outside for a run, no matter how damn cold it is. Real world awaits!

  209. Does the feel-good movie of the year deserve an R rating?

  210. Nixon invoking “TR” — Teddy Roosevelt.

  211. NPR playing tapes of Nixon saying goodbye to his staff.

  212. No truth to the rumors Joy Behar broke two fingers when she mussed up Blago’s hair.

  213. How did we get to a place where Blago is sitting between Whoopi and Joy on “The View”?

  214. “For your own dignity, wouldn’t it be better if you resigned?” And Blago goes right into Mr. Smith mode. He’s even playing the kid card…

  215. Babs came to play. Blago’s startin’ to sweat. “The fix is in!” “I’m a big fan of your program!” Please.

  216. And Blago just keeps on spinning like a gyroscope.

  217. Walters: “DID YOU SAY THOSE THINGS? Here’s your chance? Please answer, otherwise, why are you wasting our time?” Go Babs!

  218. Blago now being interviewed by Barbara Walters, who’s on a flat-screen TV. He’s evading her questions and starting sweat a little…

  219. Not that I don’t think Oprah wouldn’t be a fine public servant. I tried to get her to run for mayor years and years ago, but did she listen?

  220. More madness: Blago says he considered tapping Oprah for Senate seat. Apparently his imaginary friend Larry the Bunny Rabbit didn’t want it.

  221. Quick hit about the SAG Awards:http://blog.richardroeper.c…

  222. Just heard a CBS2 anchor say “Wicked” put Chicago on the map as a theater community. That’ll come as a relief to Steppenwolf et al.

  223. Still trying to figure out how the Miss America Pageant wound up on the Learning Channel.

  224. Frost/Nixon opens wide this weekend. My take:…

  225. Watched “The Pope of Greenwich Village” recently. Rourke was so mannered but so good. Eric Roberts was an insane, mesmerizing train wreck.

  226. “Frost/Nixon” **** Howard’s best film? Langella does the best Nixon yet. Arrogant, paranoid, unintentionally funny. Yet it’s never a parody.

  227. “Revolutionary Road” *** Mendes’ take on the Yates novel is bleak and unrelenting. Winslet and Leo, superb; Shannon deserves his Oscar nod.

  228. Most of those “kids” on “FNL” look like they’re ready for their 10-year reunion. I know Riggs isn’t too bright, but what is he, 28?

  229. “Lost” premiere: 3 1/2 stars. The Hurley stuff dragged a bit. “Friday Night Lights” premiere: 3 stars.

  230. I’ll be on Roe Conn’s show on WLS-890 AM at 4:30pm today.

  231. Unlike “Benjamin Button,” the Academy voters never get any younger. The average age of an Academy member is Noah-esque.

  232. Biggest snubs: “The Dark Knight,” Eastwood, Springsteen, Kristin Scott-Thomas.

  233. My take on the Oscar nominations:

  234. Oscar noms in a few minutes. Kutcher reportedly sleeping in.

  235. Caroline Kennedy withdraws name from consideration. I don’t think she expected such a rough reception.

  236. Patti Blago canned from job with homeless agency. You know what a #!*&! job like that can #@&!^!% fetch? A lot of $!&^%#*! money.

  237. Great piece on Artie Lange in the new Rolling Stone.

  238. Chi alderman gets a DUI after getting out of car and telling cops at fire scene to get out of the way.

  239. Chicago mayor’s office once estimated crowd for Pope at 2 mil. Satellite technology later determined this was literally impossible.

  240. Prof estimates inaug. crowd at 800,000. That seems more realistic than nearly 2 mil.…

  241. Wonder what W. has planned for today. He’s probably aching to get to work on that new presidential library.

  242. President Obama and Mrs. Obama dancing the night away. Imagine the feeling when they go to sleep tonight in their new home.

  243. Just spent some time going over the White House floor plans with an expert on the subject. Fascinating stuff. And material for Thursday…

  244. Just heard an Inauguration fan talk about “contagious energy.” Well put.

  245. – The White Sox just sent me this photo of a small banner congratulating the First Sox Fan.

  246. Obama the White Sox fan.

  247. BTW: no last minute sentence-commute for George Ryan.

  248. Hey, Jesse Jackson’s on TV. I hope his family remembered to Tivo it.

  249. Sen Kennedy responding to attention, reports Jeff Greenfield.

  250. Those are the two senior senators.

  251. Sen. Byrd also in hospital.

  252. Ted Kennedy collapsed at the luncheon. No further details yet.

  253. Not that this bit of trivia will ever be corrected in the lexicon, but those poor souls at Jonestown drank cyanide-laced Flavor Aid.

  254. I keep hearing about Obama supporters “drinking the Kool-Aid.”

  255. If everyone is watching the coverage, blogging, Facebooking, text messaging and Twittering, is anyone working?

  256. I’m friends with the team behind the updated White House web site. It’s looking great.

  257. This has got to be the busiest day in Twitter history.

  258. I’ll be on WGN (720-AM) in about two minutes.

  259. Police estimating crowd at 2 million. Even with satellite technology, that seems like a guess.

  260. Working on a column for the Extra edition of the Sun-Times. It’ll be posted soon.

  261. Even as they plan to party in DC, most Americans are already getting back to work–or looking for work.

  262. A good, strong, tough speech.

  263. “It is ultimately the faith and the determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.”

  264. “We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

  265. To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward…

  266. Lines you’ll soon hear:

  267. Sounds like a coach at halftime with the team losing, but not lost.

  268. “The time has come to set aside childish things…”

  269. He sure ain’t sugarcoating it.

  270. And now it’s official. President Obama.

  271. Friends report it’s damn cold in DC, but at least the skies are a spectacular shade of blue.

  272. And Cheney is that crabby guy in the wheelchair.

  273. Joe the Vice President.

  274. We’re right on time.

  275. Obama’s speech will reportedly be 22 minutes long.

  276. “Real and necessary change.” W must love that.

  277. Brian Williams should stop calling himself “this reporter.”

  278. Dick Cheney IS Mister Potter.

  279. Malia’s got the digital camera again. She’s going to need a lot of memory cards.


  281. The announcer guy sounds like an SNL parody.

  282. Sun-Times extra edition hits the streets this afternoon. I’ll have a column in there.

  283. And the Quayles just in front of the Gores.

  284. Al Gore. The thoughts that must be swimming.

  285. Someone just unfurled a banner from a balcony near my Chicago office. I thought it might be for Obama–but it’s a giant Terrible Towel f 

  286. Does Burberry have a product placement deal with all these scarves?

  287. Barack Obama no longer needs cash or ID. It’ll be at least four years before he’ll drive a car again.

  288. 48 years ago, JFK was sworn in. His daughter was 3. Now she’s there as the likely next Senator from New York.

  289. And there’s Ted Kennedy, looking strong. Hanging tough.

  290. In case you’re wondering: Michelle Obama is just under 5-11.

  291. Muhammad Ali looks very, very frail.

  292. When the Bushed greeted the Obamas, there was that awkward moment when handshakes and semi-hugs were kinda mixed up.

  293. Today has been pre-ordained as historic. Future generations will know about this day.

  294. Some days start ordinary and become historic–usually for tragic reasons.

  295. The over/under on Obama’s speech: 31 minutes.

  296. Make that Krunch Kretschmar.

  297. Best name ever: Fox interviewing Krunch Kretschmeyer, DirecTV customer. I hope to God his middle name isn’t Kevin.

  298. Man are they selling a lot of unauthorized crap with Obama’s name and image attached. Velvet Elvis would be embarrassed by this junk.

  299. All great #44’s. Here’s to the next and most important 44–Barack Obama.

  300. The list: Hank Aaron Willie McCovey Jerry West Jim Brown (at Syracuse)

  301. Someone just told me a great name for an adult version of Twitter. I’m just going to leave it at that.

  302. Historic week ahead. GBA.

  303. Cards looking like Cards.

  304. Cards looking like a Super Bowl team.

  305. That New York Times columnist is a pretty good singer.

  306. When you see the Lincoln Memorial, try not to think of the ending of the remake of “Planet of the Apes.”

  307. Apparently ALL of show business is in DC.

  308. Joe the Vice President.

  309. But hey, he gave a shoutout to the 312, so there’s that,

  310. Jamie Foxx: mediocre Barack imitation.

  311. Steve Carrell quoting Jefferson. OK.

  312. Kind of odd that this is on HBO.

  313. Why not.

  314. And he’s followed by…Laura Linney.

  315. Springsteen, “The Rising,” DC, awesome.

  316. Ravens- Steelers: I’ll take Pittsburgh. Cards in an upset over Philly.

  317. Also next week: I’m launching a new web site.

  318. Also next week: I’m renting a pickup and giving W a ride to Texas.

  319. Also next week: Oscar nominations.

  320. Coming next week: Twitter movie reviews from yours truly. Details to come!

  321. Coming next week: Twitted movie reviews from yours truly. Details to come!

  322. It’s so cold my Twitters aren’t all getting through.

  323. They’re T-t-t-t-witters

  324. Not a whole lot of note opening this weekend. You’re better off catching one of the Oscar contenders.

  325. -17. That’s not a temperature, that’s a point spread when the Lions are on the road.

  326. This thermometer goes to 11. Actually, -11.

  327. Farewell from W. Almost out of office and still in denial.

  328. The AP photo of passengers standing on the wing of the plane in the water — that’s an award winner.

  329. I wonder if the passengers will take another flight to Charlotte–or rent cars.

  330. I’m surprised CNN is getting passengers on the phone before the FAA and the airline could talk to them.

  331. What an amazing landing. Right out of the movies.

  332. That’s either the best or the worst pilot ever. I’m thinking the best.

  333. Every time I land at LaGuardia I’m taken aback by how close we are to the water.

  334. This coverage of the splash landing is amazing.

  335. Today’s song: “L.A. Goodbye,” Ides of March.

  336. At this point it looks like it’s actually snowing UP in Chicago.

  337. Private snow plow businesses must be the one economy-proof business in Chicago this winter.

  338. It makes these women look like utter fools.

  339. “Bride Wars” — dreadful. How does something so old-school sexist get released in 2009?

  340. Doesn’t Opening Day seem about three years away?

  341. Heading to LAX Looking for that window between storms.

  342. Because that’s my genius: leave LA and 75/sunny for the gentle caress of this week in Chicago.

  343. Can we clear Runway #2 please? I’m coming home tomorrow.

  344. Duchovny read a review of mine on the air. That was interesting. But we ended up having fun.

  345. They have a liquor cart known as the Jay Bar. Cheers.

  346. Backstage at “Tonight.” Jay doing his warmup now…

  347. Not that we’re singing a duet or anything.

  348. Reminder: I’m on the “Tonight Show” tonight with David Duchovny.

  349. Mickey Rourke, champion. Great GG moment.

  350. Only the GG’s would have Tom Wilkinson for “John Adams” up against Jeremy Piven for “Entourage” and Neil Patrick Harris for “How I Met Y 

  351. Springsteen wins a Golden Globe. Finally his career is validated.

  352. A globe for Heath. He’ll be awarded the Oscar as well.

  353. Nice night in LA for the Golden Globes. Let’s hope someone gets plastered and does something stupid.

  354. Off to the Golden Globes and the “The Tonight Show.” Tweet you later.

  355. Does anybody actually buy a Mont Blanc pen at the airport?

  356. Packing for L.A. Anyone seen my superficiality?

  357. We used to provide talent for SNL. Now we provide MATERIAL.

  358. First Blago, now Burris. What a world.

  359. Roland Burris satirized on SNL!

  360. I’m heading out for coffee and maybe a jog with Blago, back later.

  361. Got salt?

  362. Which could lead to another “What the hell were you thinking!?” moment.

  363. David Duchovny.

  364. Instead I’ll be following …

  365. Patrick Swayze in the hospital. So he won’t be on “The Tonight Show” Monday.

  366. The Cubs are now a Milton Bradley game. Good luck with that.

  367. The “under” was also solid throughout.

  368. But I did think the Gators would win.

  369. Ok so I was a LITTLE off…

  370. Florida 34, Oklahoma 27. That’s not a prediction. I just returned from the near future.

  371. I’m trying to master about three techno-things and I’m proving to be mediocre at all three. Calling India!

  372. So far today, three people have delivered bad news to me. So I have decided to cancel the rest of Thursday. It’s now officially Friday.

  373. Somebody like Letterman needs to book that ShamWow guy so we can learn his deal.

  374. I’ll be on the “Tonight Show” next Monday. First guest: Patrick Swayze.

  375. The Roland Burris era will begin soon. I expect it to end in 2010.

  376. Appointments with the plumber AND the dentist today, big fun!

  377. I hate it when the new issue of a magazine arrives and I haven’t even started on the previous edition.

  378. As much as I resent this Burris travesty, I’m not sure he can legally be barred from taking that Senate seat. Sigh.

  379. Just got back from East Bank Club. Not an Oprah in sight. But there were some serious women pounding the treadmill. Made my three miles 

  380. Sorry it’s taken this long, but I’m about to start following some of you so we can make my Twitter page interactive. Cheers!

  381. Is there any way Roland Burris could be enjoying this any more? From forgotten hack to center of the media universe, thanks to Blago.

  382. If you have a Hall of Fame ballot, how can you not vote for Dawson, John and Blyleven? Not to mention Henderson, of course.

  383. I can’t resist it, I have to get a Shamwow.

  384. Nope.

  385. Hanging on?

  386. Buckeyes…

  387. You don’t mess with Texas. Or the Zohan.

  388. Southwest. Airlines halftime show: open seating?

  389. Superstars of Dance: not for me.

  390. I will continue to proudly put mustard and ketchup only on the four-five hot dogs I have every year.

  391. There’s nothing “Chicago” about not putting ketchup on a hot dog. Royko perpetuated that myth in his column.

  392. Friday is the deadline for taking down your decorations, unless your faith specifically says otherwise. It’s the law.

  393. Get to bed, you have work in the morning. Good luck to all in ’09!

  394. And another goal with 1.1 secs left in the period!

  395. Five hole baby.

  396. Five hole baby.0

  397. Blackhawks look like they’re back on track. Up 3-1 after two quick second period goals.

  398. Except for you, Blago. You can stay in your sweats.

  399. Welcome back, everyone.

  400. Why do I have the feeling not one person in America is on vacation tomorrow?

  401. How can a team be so unmotivated?

  402. Bulls were a dead team dribbling last night.

  403. Finally and unfortunately, Sam Shepard and Charles Barkley have something in common.

  404. Roland Burris: “We are the Senator.” We iz?

  405. Sad news, John Travolta’s son Jett has died. He was 16.

  406. A lot of Resolutioners at the health club today. God love ’em.

  407. Let’s just say it: it feels like a Monday, doesn’t it.

  408. It’s just tough for any Chicago team to win at Wrigley after September.

Bet the House!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009



         I’ve just signed a deal with Chicago Review Press to write my eighth book. The tentative title is Bet the House: How I wagered $1,000 a day every day for a month on everything from poker to the lottery to a flip of a coin.

         Of course, by the time the book comes out, it might be called “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”, “The Biggest Loser,” “Lost” or “Deal or No Deal?” Oh wait, those titles are taken.

         Chicago Review Press published my last two books: Sox and the City and Debunked! They’ve got a great team, and I’m thrilled to be working with them again.

         Here’s the premise. Each and every day for 30 consecutive days, I must risk at least $1,000 on some form of gambling. I’ll keep a running diary each day, with an updated bankroll.

         The rules:

         If I manage to double the bankroll at any point, the risk will be increased to at least $2,000 every day.

         At one point I will have to risk at least 25 percent of the bankroll on a single sporting event, poker tournament, roll of the dice or hand of blackjack.

         If I lose the entire amount before the 30 days have expired, I must replenish the bankroll with my own money.

         I must gamble for at least two hours every day. If I lose the minimum $1,000 before the time has run out, I’ll have to dip into the next day’s bankroll to keep going.

         If I win, a portion of the profits will go to charity.

         It doesn’t have to be a different form of gambling every day, but I’m going to try to come up with as many variations as possible. A partial list:





         Off-track betting

         A major poker tournament in Las Vegas

         A charity poker tournament

         Dog races in Kenosha

         Online poker

         The lottery

         March madness: NCAA pools

         Wagering through a web site that takes bets on entertainment shows such as “Dancing With the Stars.”

         Sports betting

         Prop bets


         If anyone can think of other forms of gambling I’ve missed, I’m open to suggestions. And if you know of any specific gambling event in the Chicago area within the next month, when I’ll be writing the book, please let me know.



New book project announced.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Bet the House

The act continues. Joaquin confronts heckler in Miami. Sigh.

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

The music of “Watchmen”

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009


I’m taking your nominations for the most overused songs in movies…

As some reviews of “Watchmen” have noted, the opening montage is one of the best things about the film — but as we follow the ups and downs of the Watchmen from decade to decade, the use of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’ ” is about as subtle as a blow to the head from the Comedian.

“Watchmen” is peppered with musical cliches, including “The Sounds of Silence” (at a funeral, no less — though there is a connection between the character who has died and the Paul Simon song, which was written after JFK’s death), Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” Leonard Cohen’s beautiful but overused “Hallelujah” and “All Along the Watchtower” (the Hendrix version).

But this is the thing: In choosing the music, director Zach Snyder was often being faithful to Alan Moore’s Watchmen, which contains snippets of lyrics and references to many of the songs that now appear on the film’s soundtrack. For example, as an article in Billboard pointed out, the Hollis Mason character in the book refers to “Ride of the Valkyries” as “the saddest thing I can think of.” And the first chapter has lyrics from Dylan’s “Desolation Row.”

Then there’s Snyder’s use of “I’m Your Boogie Man” by K.C. and the Sunshine Band during a violent confrontation between Watchmen and protesters. Zany, but effective.

To my mind “Sounds of Silence” forever belongs to “The Graduate,” just as “Ride of the Valkyries” will forever be associated with “Apocalypse Now” (and to some extent “Birth of a Nation”). It’s nearly impossible to wedge these songs into another movie, even if in some cases you’re being faithful to the source material.

In my less-than-bestselling book 10 Sure Signs a Movie Character is Doomed, I listed a number of pop songs that have been done to death in the movies, including:

“I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown

“Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf

“Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood and the Destroyers

“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

“All Star” by Smash Mouth

Then there’s “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, which has been featured in at least 20 movies. Filmmakers just can’t resist that unmistakable opening riff, which shouts, “PSYCHEDELIC MAN!” Even if you were filming “The Norman Greenbaum Story,” you might want to think twice about using it in your movie.

Can you think of any other songs that have been overused on movie soundtracks? If so, drop me a note.

What do you do with a giant drinking thingee?

Monday, March 9th, 2009

OK, so you had that wacky night at the gimmicky bar in Vegas, where the dueling piano players encourage the crowd to sing the dirty lyrics, and they encourage you to buy the giant drinking thingee and chug-chug-chug as everyone cheers you on. You even get to keep the purple plastic flute as a souvenir!

It’s the next morning. You’re so hungover you’re contemplating a trip to the emergency room, but you manage to get it together, pack your shit and head for the airport. In the corner, there’s the giant purple pasting drinking thingee. What to do? Leave it behind, in the true tradition of what happens in Vegas blah blah blah?

Or do you rinse it out, sling it over your shoulder and head for the door?


Obviously the giant purple plastic drinking device is a carry-on item. So you’re going to have to figure out how to stash it under your seat, as it’s not going to fit into the overhead bins. But let’s say you work all that out, and you make it home.

Now what? What exactly do you do with the GPPDD? Put it on display? Use it on a regular basis at the breakfast table? Turn it into some sort of vase?

I’m just asking.

Some kind words for the blog

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Thanks Pyro!

the blog

“True Blood” and RR mentioned in the same blog

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

True Blood


Lizzy Caplan From True Blood Finds A New Party

March 5, 2009 by KS Rose 

Lizzy Caplan who played Amy Burley on True Blood has a new comedy TV show coming out on the Starz channel called Party Down where she plays Casey Kline. Each episode of the show focuses on a catered event while the caterers, a group of struggling wannabe actors who are stuck working for tips while waiting for their big break bumble their way through the party. As employees of the L.A. catering company “Party Down,” these misfits mingle with guests at everything from sweet sixteen parties to the most lavish Hollywood soirées. The show is set to premiere March 20, 2009.

Rounding out the cast are Jane Lynch (The 40 Year Old Virgin), Ken Marino (Veronica Mars, Role Models), Adam Scott (Tell Me You Love Me), Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars, Friday the 13th 2009) and Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks).

Behind the scenes interview of the stars of the show:


“Party Down” is the latest addition to Starz’ original programming lineup. The channel’s first dramatic series, “Crash,” a co-production with Lionsgate, premiered October 17, 2008. Starz also features “Starz Inside,” a series featuring original specials examining people, trends and culture in movie entertainment hosted by film critic Richard Roeper.

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